It’s that time of year when schools and families across America are gearing up for graduation ceremonies. While a wheelchair ramp may not be on the planning list, it should be considered for graduates or invitees who may need help accessing the ceremonies or festivities that are part of the big day.
The big occasion can easily be spoiled if someone who uses a wheelchair or cane is shut out of the proceedings because there is no wheelchair ramp for them to reach the stage. That could be a graduating student or one of the invited speakers.
While the hall where diplomas are handed out may have a wheelchair ramp, it’s possible other buildings where events take place before and after the ceremony are not equipped with wheelchair ramps.
For situations like this, wheelchair ramp rentals are ideal. They can be installed within hours – outside or indoors – and remain in place for as long as needed. Rental wheelchair ramps have been used at college and high school commencements for many years.
Scott Fazzina has provided Amramp’s modular wheelchair ramps for graduation ceremonies at Central Connecticut State University and Greenwich High School in Connecticut. In his experience, schools may want to rent a wheelchair ramp for two locations, to be prepared for an outdoor or indoor graduation. Or graduation ceremonies might be held at an off-campus facility that lacks a wheelchair ramp where the diplomas are being handed out. Gymnasiums are an obvious choice for a temporary wheelchair ramp, since commencement ceremonies are often held in gyms or other buildings used for athletic events or large gatherings.
Some schools also will have more than one graduation event, so even if a main building is accessible, a faculty club or other school building may not be. Harvard University has used portable wheelchair ramps for graduation, as has Bridgewater State University in Massachusetts.
Fazzina says schools are impressed with the flexibility of the temporary wheelchair ramps. It opens up the possibility of using facilities that normally wouldn’t be associated with graduation activities.